Philippa Shoemark


Room to Glo: A Systematic Comparison of Semantic Change Detection Approaches with Word Embeddings
Philippa Shoemark | Farhana Ferdousi Liza | Dong Nguyen | Scott Hale | Barbara McGillivray
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Word embeddings are increasingly used for the automatic detection of semantic change; yet, a robust evaluation and systematic comparison of the choices involved has been lacking. We propose a new evaluation framework for semantic change detection and find that (i) using the whole time series is preferable over only comparing between the first and last time points; (ii) independently trained and aligned embeddings perform better than continuously trained embeddings for long time periods; and (iii) that the reference point for comparison matters. We also present an analysis of the changes detected on a large Twitter dataset spanning 5.5 years.


pdf bib
Inducing a lexicon of sociolinguistic variables from code-mixed text
Philippa Shoemark | James Kirby | Sharon Goldwater
Proceedings of the 2018 EMNLP Workshop W-NUT: The 4th Workshop on Noisy User-generated Text

Sociolinguistics is often concerned with how variants of a linguistic item (e.g., nothing vs. nothin’) are used by different groups or in different situations. We introduce the task of inducing lexical variables from code-mixed text: that is, identifying equivalence pairs such as (football, fitba) along with their linguistic code (football→British, fitba→Scottish). We adapt a framework for identifying gender-biased word pairs to this new task, and present results on three different pairs of English dialects, using tweets as the code-mixed text. Our system achieves precision of over 70% for two of these three datasets, and produces useful results even without extensive parameter tuning. Our success in adapting this framework from gender to language variety suggests that it could be used to discover other types of analogous pairs as well.


Topic and audience effects on distinctively Scottish vocabulary usage in Twitter data
Philippa Shoemark | James Kirby | Sharon Goldwater
Proceedings of the Workshop on Stylistic Variation

Sociolinguistic research suggests that speakers modulate their language style in response to their audience. Similar effects have recently been claimed to occur in the informal written context of Twitter, with users choosing less region-specific and non-standard vocabulary when addressing larger audiences. However, these studies have not carefully controlled for the possible confound of topic: that is, tweets addressed to a broad audience might also tend towards topics that engender a more formal style. In addition, it is not clear to what extent previous results generalize to different samples of users. Using mixed-effects models, we show that audience and topic have independent effects on the rate of distinctively Scottish usage in two demographically distinct Twitter user samples. However, not all effects are consistent between the two groups, underscoring the importance of replicating studies on distinct user samples before drawing strong conclusions from social media data.

Aye or naw, whit dae ye hink? Scottish independence and linguistic identity on social media
Philippa Shoemark | Debnil Sur | Luke Shrimpton | Iain Murray | Sharon Goldwater
Proceedings of the 15th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Volume 1, Long Papers

Political surveys have indicated a relationship between a sense of Scottish identity and voting decisions in the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum. Identity is often reflected in language use, suggesting the intuitive hypothesis that individuals who support Scottish independence are more likely to use distinctively Scottish words than those who oppose it. In the first large-scale study of sociolinguistic variation on social media in the UK, we identify distinctively Scottish terms in a data-driven way, and find that these terms are indeed used at a higher rate by users of pro-independence hashtags than by users of anti-independence hashtags. However, we also find that in general people are less likely to use distinctively Scottish words in tweets with referendum-related hashtags than in their general Twitter activity. We attribute this difference to style shifting relative to audience, aligning with previous work showing that Twitter users tend to use fewer local variants when addressing a broader audience.


Towards robust cross-linguistic comparisons of phonological networks
Philippa Shoemark | Sharon Goldwater | James Kirby | Rik Sarkar
Proceedings of the 14th SIGMORPHON Workshop on Computational Research in Phonetics, Phonology, and Morphology